Stabbed cite the influence of the progressive rock and groove metal movement (such as Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira and Meshuggah) as an inspiration. I can hear this immediately, but not in a clichéd derivation, more in the manner of a subconscious homage. Coupled with the fact that bassist Marcell Demeter is wearing a Cog t-shirt in the band’s press photographs, I’m very intrigued to hear and know more. These guys are clearly seriously informed!
Listening to an album from end to beginning was a practice that I cultivated with mid-career Deftones albums. The habit defied the fatigue to my earsof over-saturated singles, and opened up all the twists and turns that occur down the stretch of any good album. Similarly, I decided to commence my absorption of Long Way Down by starting at the end. The chime and sway of album closer “Vessel” was a real hook that allowed this Hungarian five-piece to reel me in. I am reminded of the joy and discovery when unearthing late-album tracks on Blood Mountain by Mastodon or Opeth’s Deliverance.
I let the album play and went about my day. It sunk in, its sonic depth and nuance piquing my interest more and more. Particularly, the audio production and tone selection really is pure ear candy to any metaller’s ears. Thick, sludgy guitar tones and beautiful, crisp drum sounds provide a gallant sound-bed for thick and hearty vocals to soar over. In a true production rarity, it turns out that a single gentleman (Gabor Vari) has recorded, mixed, and mastered the entire album. Long Way Down is thus a great advertisement for continuity of producer throughout an album’s creation.
For fans of the cryptic and math-rock aspects of the bands listed above, mid-album track “Mute” will not disappoint. Feel changes and odd-time signatures abound in this opus worthy of any outdoor festival’s moshpit. Whilst there is not a song that goes by where the intricate guitar work of Attila Kecskés and Gergely Kovács is not on full display, “Mute” is particularly impressive. Similarly the cohesion provided by the pristine battery of drummer Márk Potkovácz throughout the album is truly world-class.
Melodically, vocalist Alex Karamuskó really does get inside the song structures written by Attila Kecskés. He soars between smoky, dirge-like chants and biting metallic snarls with ease and taste. The lyrics, mostly written by Márk Potkovácz, are open to the listeners’ interpretation, and sweeping in their imagery. I was pleased to read the lyrics and found that they are complimentary to the feelings evoked by the songs.
There is a lot to absorb on Long Way Down. I let it roll over again and again, day after day. It’s hard to find fault with it, really. If anything, I just want more of Stabbed’s songs. This is their second release, with their first being an EP named Submerge (released in 2015). So hopefully their next LP will be just as good and even longer. They truly have an epic, massive sound, and really seem to be on-point with their song-writing. I would have been more than happy to listen to songs of this calibre for another forty minutes at least.
Written by Scott Andrews
*edited by Kate Erickson